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Flanders International Rally Challenge contender Steve Brown heads back to Belgium this weekend to contest The ORC Canal Rally and this time, at the wheel of the Honda Civic he was due to debut at the start of the season.

His usual 1400cc Nissan Micra Kit Car had been at a power disadvantage to the others in his class last season and the Rochdale driver had to do battle with two-litre machines. Brown had managed to secure a deal to contest the overseas championship in a more powerful Honda Civic for the 2017 season but has endured a delayed start to his campaign in the new steed.

Brown’s debut of the new car has been thwarted by mechanical issues on both pre-season tests but now, with all the issues resolved, Brown will take the car across the Channel to contest round two of the FIRC.

Thanks to the loan of his old Nissan Micra on the opening round Rallye Salamandre, Brown and co-driver Paul Stringer managed to bag some points for his campaign, finishing third in class on the event. The duo will now head to the host town of Oostrozebeke in West Flanders hoping for a solid haul of points to assist in their championship aspirations.

“It feels like we have had a bit of a false start to the championship this year” says Brown, “so I`m delighted to finally be able to take the Honda to Belgium”.

“In the initial test in the car at the start of the year it felt really great to drive and I think it will really be a great bit of kit for the Flanders roads.  But I need to take a measured approach as I really haven’t had any experience of anything other than a circuit in the car so we will certainly have to ease our way into the event and build our pace gradually.”

With that in mind, Brown as ear-marked points as a goal this weekend rather than a podium result.

“We have to be sensible and get the points on the board during the early part of the season. The plan is to bag as many as we can on this event and perhaps begin to push over the next few outings. We will certainly be taking it event by event but either way, I`m really looking forward to finally getting out in the car”.

The ORC Canal Rally takes place on Sunday 28th May and comprises over around 85km of special stages on the closed public roads in the West Flanders region.

You can follow Steve’s progress throughout the season via his website http://www.stevebrownrallying.co.uk, on Facebook and Twitter.

Brown is supported in 2017 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, 710, Mintex Racing, PIAA, Brake Prep and Pirelli.

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